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  2. Your Findmypast account
  3. Privacy Policy

7. Family Tree

Building your family tree is an immensely valuable activity while you are exploring your family history. Trees allow you to store all your family history in one central area. You can attach historic records that you find on our site to your trees. At Findmypast, we are continuously improving our family trees and finding new ways for you to get the most out of your Findmypast experience. We are continuously developing how we can enable researchers to benefit from other trees that already exist on Findmypast.

One of the most valuable resources for a community of users researching and building their family trees is access to the historical research of others. Many people, often unknown to each other, share common ancestors within a few generations, and those people know different parts of the family tree. By joining forces and connecting this knowledge, we can all discover new parts of our family history – parts we never had access to before.

Privacy Settings

We provide you with privacy controls to manage your family tree and control who can see the information in it within the Tree Settings page. You are in charge of your family tree privacy and should familiarise yourself with how these controls work.

When you create your family tree or upload a GEDCOM (a file format used for exchanging genealogical data), the privacy settings are set to ‘share deceased ancestors’ and ‘share photographs of deceased ancestors’ by default. You can read more about how these settings work below.

Deleting your family tree
Within the View All Trees area you can find an option to Remove Tree. This option will remove your tree from your tree view and we will delete all the data related to living people in your tree. Please note that where you have not indicated that a person featured in your tree is deceased, we will assume they are not deceased unless they were born at least 110 years ago. If you want us to delete your entire tree from our records, please contact [email protected]. If you have participated in Tree-to-Tree Hinting, deleting your tree will not delete branches you have shared with other users.

Family Tree Features

Tree-to-Tree Hinting & Tree Searching

Sharing information about deceased ancestors is vital for Tree-to-Tree Hinting and Tree Searching. Your privacy settings are set to ‘share deceased ancestors’ and ‘share photographs of deceased ancestors’ by default, which means that information on your deceased ancestors may be offered to other members as a hint if their tree appears to share common ancestors with your tree. Your tree will be available to members actively searching for Findmypast trees that match your own. Users receiving a Tree-to-Tree hint or finding a matching person in a Tree search will also be able to view your tree.

Your tree will be available to members actively searching for Findmypast trees that match your own. Users receiving a Tree-to-Tree hint or finding a matching person in a Tree search will also be able to view your tree, but not any living people. For more detail on how Tree Search works please review this guide.

When ‘Share Deceased Ancestors’ is switched on all personal information about living people remains private to you. Information on your deceased ancestors may be offered to other members as explained above. For deceased ancestors, the following information may be offered as part of a hint, and will be available via Tree search:

  • Timelines
  • Facts and events – together with sources and attached records
  • A VIEW ONLY version of your tree – showing information above - ONLY for deceased ancestors. (Any living relatives will be marked ‘private’ and no details will be shown). No other user will be able to edit or change your tree in any way.
  • Photographs and media will ONLY be shared if the additional ‘Share photographs for Deceased ancestors’ permission is switched on. Findmypast recommends if you use this feature, you do not have images of living people on deceased ancestor profiles.

If your ancestors are not marked as deceased but were born more than 110 years ago we will assume they are deceased. Please contact [email protected] if this is incorrect.

When ‘Share Deceased Ancestors’ is switched off other users will not be able to receive hints relating to deceased ancestors in your tree, and your tree will not be available in tree search results. Sharing photographs for Deceased ancestors will be switched off.

Tree Sharing

You can share your family tree with your friends and family. You will find the tree sharing option at the top of your family tree.

Your shared tree is “View Only”. Sharing your tree gives others the right to view your entire Public Tree. No one will be able to delete or rename your tree.

By inviting others to your tree, they will be able to view all the deceased people in the tree. You have the option to allow people to view living relatives in your tree.

They will be able to view any information your ancestors that is not marked specifically as “Private” within their profiles.

Sending an invite
You have the option to send an invite to your friends and family to view your tree via email, WhatsApp or Facebook.

The person you invite to view your tree must register with Findmypast before they can view your tree. The tree sharing link will expire after 7 days and the link to share your public tree can be shared with any number of people.

You are responsible for any information you add or share within your family tree. Anyone with access to your family tree can copy and share the details they read.

Remove access
If you wish to remove an individual’s access to your tree, you should make your tree “Private”. This will remove access to anybody who has a link to your family tree. Otherwise, after 7 days, the link will expire and the people with that link will no longer have access unless you give them a new link.

Private Messaging

We have created private messaging to allow you to reach out directly to others who share ancestors.

Private Messaging is available through tree-to-tree hints and Tree Search.

When you see you have a common ancestor with another Findmypast member, you can reach out and share more about your family history.

To send a private message, you need to have a Findmypast subscription. You do not need to have a subscription to receive a message.

What personal information is shared with private messaging?

When you send a message, the other Findmypast member will see your full name. It is the same name you have registered on your Findmypast account. Within the private message, you can decide how much personal information you want to share.

If you wish to opt-out or be removed from private messaging, please contact our customer support team.

If you wish to block another member from messaging or you have received abuse from another member, please contact our customer support team immediately at [email protected].

Removal of unauthorised data

We reserve the right (at our own discretion) to remove any personal information which you have included in your family tree about people who are living if we are alerted to the fact that this personal information was used without that person’s permission. If you become aware that your personal information has been included in somebody else's tree without your permission or is being misused in any other way on the website, please send an email to our Customer Support team at [email protected] with details and we will investigate and, if necessary, remove this information. The information added about deceased persons is not considered personal data under this policy.

Sharing family tree data with FamilySearch

If you created a family tree between 1 November 2018 and 31 March 2019 (when we were testing a new community shared tree product) and you gave your consent, we shared your personal information with FamilySearch in order to provide you with the community shared tree service. The following items would have been shared with FamilySearch:

  • Name
  • Birthdate
  • Gender
  • IP Address
  • Contributions to the community shared tree

FamilySearch is a data controller with a separate privacy policy. This policy was made available to all users who consented to share their data with FamilySearch and is available here. If you have any questions or concerns about your personal information please contact [email protected].

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